Wednesday, December 12, 2012


When I first started thinking about the possibility of doing Ph.D. work, I had originally planned to apply to schools in the UK for various reasons. It was shorter, being in Europe seemed appealing, and at the time I was much more familiar with scholars from the UK. And in terms of history, how can you beat schools like Cambridge, Oxford, St. Andrews, and Durham, to name a few?

I mean, check out this picture:

Simply amazing. Though after further research and thinking about the viability of that road, I decided against it and haven't looked back since. We ended up in Atlanta and I've been very happy at Emory University, it's really been an amazing place to do work in NT studies.

But to go back, one main reason I did not pursue a UK PhD was a practical one: money. Funding seemed very scarce and I definitely did not want to put that kind of financial pressure on me and my family once I finished. 

But, for those of you out there still dreaming this dream, it appears that at least for one school (the one pictured above), there is some funding available. That school is the University of Durham, check out the info below:

My AHRC-funded project on “The Fourfold Gospel and its Rivals” has aPhD studentship attached that will provide three years worth of homefees (or equivalent) and living expenses in 2013-16. The double focusof the project is on early Christian gospels (canonical andnoncanonical) and on gospel reception in the patristic era, whichshould cater for applicants wishing to work primarily in the NewTestament field or in patristics – although some overlap would belikely. I’d be most grateful if colleagues would draw this opening tothe attention of current or recent students who may be interested inpursuing a PhD in this area. 

The following suggestions illustrate the kind of PhD topic that wouldfit the terms of the project, but many others are equally possible: 
(1) The Protevangelium of James in its relationship to Matthew andLuke, and its later historical and theological significance. 
(2) Patristic views on gospel origins, from Papias to Augustine. 
(3) The relationship between selected “gnostic” gospels (e.g. Mary,Judas, Philip, etc.) and the canonical ones. 
(4) The construction and purpose of either Marcion’s Luke or Tatian’sDiatessaron. 
(5) Revelatory discourse in John 14-16 and selected “gnostic” gospels. 
(6) The role of writing in the transmission of the early Jesustradition: how far back does it go? 
(7) Tradition, reception, and the “historical Jesus”. 
(8) Factors involved in the construction of the four-gospelcollection. 
(9) The hermeneutical significance of the four gospel collection. 
(10) Public responses to publication of newly discovered gospelliterature, c.1890-2012. 

Applicants should have a good first degree in theology/religiousstudies, a completed or a current MA, and experience in the study ofthe Greek New Testament. Applications will be submitted in the normalway (for which see the Durham Department of Theology and Religionwebsite), specifying the AHRC project studentship. A detailed researchproposal will not be essential, although it may be an advantage.Preliminary enquiries may be addressed to Prof Francis Watson( The closing date for applications for thisposition will be Monday, 25 February 2013, and the successfulapplicant will be notified in early March.

Seems like a good opportunity and as it's application season right now, give this a hard look for those of you out there that are interested and good luck!

HT: The Biblical World

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